Hamlet, By William Shakespeare

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Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello: William Shakespeare’s most well-known plays are also his most recognizably Christian; set in predominantly Christian Europe, these plays are often peppered with biblical allegories and allusions, making myriad references to angels, demons, God, and everything else in-between. King Lear, set in pagan, pre-Christian England, does at first appear to deviate from the rest of its pack – until one notices that its characters are found addressing, or referring to, their gods as often as the casts of the aforementioned Hamlet, Macbeth, and Othello. Considering Albany, Cordelia, and Edgar’s piety against Edmund, Goneril, and Regan’s insolence and Gloucester and Lear’s inconsistency, it could even be argued that a King Lear character’s nature can, in fact, be determined – or measured – just by his or her relationship with the gods: an unambiguously Christian concept. It is important to note here that England, at the time of Shakespeare’s writing King Lear, had just witnessed a bevy of religious upheavals, its citizens forced to vacillate between the governances of the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church of England with the ascencion of each new Tudor monarch after Henry VII. It could be argued, therefore, that the England ruled by King Lear ought to be read as a fictionalized facsimile of Shakespeare’s own troubled nation. Repudiating the significance of King Lear’s being set in pagan England is easy enough to do – but it is also naïve. The vast

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